My [B]log Has Something to Tell You: Women Rule Twin Peaks (Part One)
What comes to mind when you think of the term, Lynchian? Is it the quirky director/writer’s twist on the classic femme fatale trope, his offbeat, dramatized characters who attempt to make sense of their place in the tangled web they weave between darkness/lightness, and reality/dreams, or the consistent splashes of reds and blues that punctuate each scene of his expansive work?
David Lynch’s filming style is difficult to conclusively define, because in many ways it surpasses the confines suggested by the word - label. A Lynch fan comes up with their own idea of what his work means in their mind, though translating that notion into words can be challenging.
With Twin Peaks’ return to the small-screen today, I can’t help but think about not only Laura Palmer, the fallen centerpiece around which the town and its troubled inhabitants existed, but many of the show’s other (arguably more), unforgettable ladies.
Audrey Horne, for example, started season one as a bratty misfit, whose sights were set on the charming, unattainable Agent Cooper. She is consistently dismayed that she must live life as a teenager, when all she wants is to be a powerful woman - free of the chains of adolescence. Can’t a girl dance in a diner to her favorite snappy jazz melodies in peace, without a barrage of eye-rolls? She is the epitome of a classic femme fatale in the sense that her gaze and her words are equally matched in haunting charisma, but as with any multi-faceted woman, there is more to her than meets the eye.
In season two we are met with a more self-assured, self-reliant Audrey, who is no longer asking that her father pay her attention, but ensuring that he has no option other than to notice her, and rely upon her for his own well-being. She turns into the adult role model she needs and doesn’t have; not only is she now a powerful player within her father’s company, but she is also a pivotal motivator to men psychologically, with her physicality taking more of a backseat. She becomes increasingly aware of her own potential, and therefore is able to heavily influence the once “Big Men on Campus” (her father, Bobby, and others), to aid her agenda, while making it appear that her goal is to put the agenda of these men first.
This isn’t the only role-reversal between male/female relations throughout the series. Donna hurries to James’ aid when he becomes trapped in a deadly love-triangle between an older woman and her murderous brother-who-is-actually-her-controlling-lover. Donna shifts from easily falling to pieces over incessant waves of emotions (understandably, given that most of her loved ones are dying off like fruit flies), to being a stoic, black Wayfarer-clad chainsmoker in several piercing gem-toned cardigans.
And we mustn’t forget Josie and Catherine. These women have more in common than they care to admit, and are two of the most powerful women throughout the show. They meticulously construct every piece of their reality to fit their own needs - though as we see in the end of season two, a person's needs can be highly complicated, and intersect with the needs of their love interest. Sometimes you think you're pouring a cup of coffee, "black as midnight on a moonless night," only to discover a fish in the percolator.
To be continued...